Jackson Zoological Park, located at 2918 W. Capitol St. in Jackson, Mississippi, is situated on 110 acres. The park is home to 120 species of animals, including 14 endangered and 23 in active species survival programs. Accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, it hosts about 200,000 visitors annually, with 90 percent under the age of 12. Committed to taking excellent care of its featured animals, the zoo also strives to offer a positive, memory making experience for its guests and a better future through conservation and education initiatives.
Some of the more exotic animals on exhibit include snow and amur leopards, Pygmy hippos, Sumatran tigers, Malayan tapirs, African elephants, red fronted lemur, emperor and cotton top tamarin, gopher tortoise, brown-headed spider monkeys, lion tailed macaques, chimpanzees and orangutans. Also featured are red pandas, red wolves, wattle cranes, sun bears, Grevy's zebras, golden bellied mangabev, black and white Colobus monkeys, white handed gibbon and white rhinos.
Boasted as a living classroom, the zoo is a popular destination for field trips and school group outings. The Friends of the Zoo has a membership of more than 4,800, many who give freely of their time and support as volunteers. More than $8 million has been raised through the state of Mississippi, the city of Jackson and private campaign gifts.
As part of the zoo's commitment to offering an interactive learning environment, zoo educators lead classes around the zoo, introducing them to information about animals in accordance with carefully designed program themes. Students receive a list of facts and activity sheets about the animals they view. Tours last about an hour and are designed for groups of up to 30 students.
For school groups and organizations that cannot make the trip, zoo educators make visits through Zoo Mobile. Zoo Mobile is available Monday-Saturday, with registration in advance of at least two weeks required. A classroom experience, an auditorium option and a special event option are the venues provided through the mobile opportunity.
As important as providing high quality food and medical care, the zoo provides a wealth of enrichment activities to stimulate and engage the animals, as well as promote their physical and emotional well being. The zoo participates in a number of conservation projects with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Center for Ecosystem Survival, Taxon Advisory Groups and many others across the country and the world.
Additional educational and entertainment opportunities provided at the zoo include camps, safari slumbers and private parties, including birthday party packages that feature face-painting, animal adoption and more. Private events also can be hosted at the park. The park is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with tours available Monday-Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Groups are strongly encouraged to call ahead to schedule tours.